Yes, these disasters do occasionally pop up as our friends on the East Coast know all too well. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history, we have all been reminded that it’s important to be ready for disaster. However, advocates (like all of us at Food Insurance) for emergency preparedness preach readiness in times of smaller emergencies.
What are small emergencies, you ask? Well, things like job loss, disability, sickness, extreme weather, or home damages. And it pays to be prepared for these emergencies.
A neighbor of mine can be the first to attest to this. As a family man with a great job (and a mortgage), he recently found himself in trouble when the company he worked for dissolved suddenly. Finding himself unemployed, this long-sighted gentleman and his family lived off of the emergency food supplies for almost four months before he found another job. The best thing was that, in that time period where no income was coming in, they managed to keep their expenses to a bare minimum by going down to the basement every time they needed spaghetti, Band-Aids or bottled water. They were able to eat safe, nutritious food, and not feel as stretched or stressed.
So whether you’re interested in preparing for those big natural disasters or the smaller things in life, here’s a quick list of five ways to conduct your emergency preparedness inventory (and don’t feel bad if you don’t do so well the first time—that’s why you’re conducting the inventory!):
- Check your food and water supplies. Most experts say that a minimum two-week supply of food for your family is crucial, and anything you can add to that is just (dehydrated) gravy! Remember, clean water is the most important emergency supply. Water storage should contain one gallon per person, per day. Include water purification tools like water filters, iodine or bleach.
- Next step: safety, shelter and survival. Put away the kind of clothing you’d want to have in an emergency, like gloves, hats, socks, underwear, and warm blankets. Survival experts say the most important items you will need are rope, tarps, a knife, fire-starters, batteries, and a heat source.
- Stay organized, even in an emergency. When you hand the kids to a babysitter, what do you leave behind? The same things you’d want in an emergency: an emergency contact list, extra cash, and basic safety info about the house (where to turn off the gas/water). Also, put together one or two jump drives with your important documents, just in case.
- Be prepared for medical/health problems. A first aid kit, a manual, and medications are obvious put-aways, but it’s surprising how many people forget about sanitation and hygiene essentials like soap and other toiletries.
- Be ready to talk and travel. Communication methods and an exit strategy are also important. Have a radio with a hand crank, walkie-talkies, a backpack, a map, extra gas (don’t store that in your basement though!), and you’re all set!